The Blue Courage Movement

How Police Are Connecting with Their Purpose

Thin Blue Line
The thin blue line represents the notion that law enforcement officers are the barrier between anarchy and order. Copyright 2011 Tim Roufa. Tim Roufa

Much has been written about the wax and wane of public trust in law enforcement over the decades. At various times, it seems, the police forces and the communities they serve find themselves at odds with each other. One organization, Blue Courage, has dedicated itself to restoring and maintaining the notion of law enforcement as a noble and honorable profession.

Finding Blue Courage

The Blue Courage organization was founded by police leaders in Missouri and Illinois, based on the idea that law enforcement is more of a calling than a career and that the well-being of the police officers is critical to ensuring the well-being of the citizens they protect.

Blue Courage emphasizes the concept of the police officer as a guardian of the people as opposed to warrior against crime. The organization has built a team of instructors across the United States who provide 2-day seminars and train-the-trainer courses to police officers and agencies, which allow those departments to inculcate the concept and allow it to grow within the police culture.

What Does Blue Courage Teach?

Blue courage offers a host of programs that encourage the development of the mind, body, and spirit of the police officer. Focusing on areas such as stress management and wellness, interpersonal communications and positive psychology, Blue Courage emphasizes critical thinking over brute force. The organization works to foster the strength and resilience to do the right thing for the right reasons.

The core course offering is the two-day Blue Courage workshop which teaches the following concepts, as described by the Blue Courage team:

  • Foundations, in which officers are taught the origins, relevance, and importance of the Blue Courage concept
  • Police Culture, which discusses the benefits and pitfalls inherent in the culture of the policing profession and police departments, and how that culture influences officers' behavior.
  • The book The Nobility of Policing, covering the important role police have as guardians of their communities.
  • Respect, which explores the idea that officers and the people they encounter have a basic need and desire to be treated with dignity and respect.
  • Resilience and Hope, in which officers are provided tools to manage stress and control thoughts and emotions in order to better meet the challenges of the life of the police officer
  • Positive Psychology, in which officers are provided with the tools to maintain a happy and positive outlook and reduce cynicism and promote positive thinking.
  • Practical Wisdom, which provides the tools for critical thinking and effective decision making.
  • Health, Wellness and High Performing Brains, acknowledging the health risks inherent in a law enforcement career and finding ways to overcome them to promote healthy living and healthy thinking.
  • The Immortal Cop, which imparts the potential to leave a lasting legacy of nobility long after an officer leaves the job.

The Effectiveness of Blue Courage

How can Blue Courage lead to better policing? By promoting understanding and critical thinking, recognizing the power of discretion in police encounters, and the importance of gaining support from the community through communication.

Blue Courage offers a way to implement policing's original Peelian Principles and make them practical and relevant in a modern society.

In short, Blue Courage can teach police and police departments how they can restore trust in the community by remembering their true purpose: to protect and serve.